Dappled green leaves, streaks of sunlight rippling water, tips of brown hinting at the end of summer resting on the ends of the leaves, circles of color…
The suggestion of squinting at a familiar scene in order to get another perspective allows me to gaze with new eyes at one of my favorite scenes: my backyard. As I sit at my writing desk, chair swiveled towards the yard, I am able to gaze at the forest of trees and plants, all selected and planted by us, the pool designed by us to resemble a natural pond and the lounge furniture beckoning. Soaring birds landing for a drink in the small waterfall or hopping under the wisteria highlight this tranquil scene. The breeze rustles the leaves and casts shadows across the fence separating our yard from the park on the other side. With open eyes I see everything, but squinting, I get a feeling and see the mood of the yard, the time of day and the season of the year.
We often take the familiar for granted so squinting at places or people enables a new view, new light to be shed on the comfortable people and places in our lives. Today as we drove along the Pacific Coast Highway, my daughter remarked on how she would never want to live in a place where you couldn’t see the ocean if you wanted to; a feeling I have always felt too. Just knowing that the ocean is 20 minutes away is enough sometimes, but driving over the canyon and sitting on the sand-watching surfers, pelicans and seagulls is heaven. I cannot imagine giving that up for any reason so to remind myself, during the school year, I try to force myself to take a break once in awhile to go to the beach and sit for an hour or so, just watching or reading or squinting at the ocean. I have to do this to remind myself that the ocean is there, just on the other side of the mountains.